A couple of years ago, I was diagnosed with Severe Reactive Hypoglycemia. I went to the doctor because I had a terrifying episode where I got really disoriented when I was walking my dog. I couldn’t find my way home, and I didn’t recognize any of the street signs. My vision was blurred, and I was very shaky. I finally just picked a direction, and hoped I was heading the right way. Luckily, I was. What if I had been driving?
My doctor ordered a glucose tolerance test just to appease me, but he really didn’t think we’d find anything since I was an athlete and very healthy. When the test results came back, he said it was the most severe case he’d ever seen, and he made me come into the office to see him. He joked that he was worried that I had a boyfriend who was shooting insulin into my toe while I was asleep. Reactive Hypoglycemia can be controlled with diet, so I went to see a nutritionist, Sylvia White. I did really well for a year or so, but last summer I sort of got back into old habits. I didn’t get all the way back into the heavy sweets that I love so much, but I did get off my controlled eating. I’ve been struggling to get back to it ever since.
Reactive Hypoglycemia occurs when my body overproduces insulin in response to consumption of a sugary food or a large meal. Instead of balancing it out to a normal blood sugar, my blood sugar plummets. Your body needs sugar for your organs to function. My numbers go so low that my body begins to consume muscle in order to get the necessary fuel. Reactive Hypoglycemia can be caused by heavy alcohol consumption, stress and disordered eating. All three of these things have been present in my life at some point. My nutritionist recommended an exchange plan similar to the plan recommended for diabetics. I have to balance every meal between carbohydrates (complex), protein and fat. I can’t wait any longer than 3 hours to eat either a snack or meal. I also have to manage stress in order to keep from elevating my adrenaline and cortisol levels which impact blood sugar. If I don’t take care of myself with this condition, it could turn into diabetes at some point since my body may become resistant to its own insulin. My grandmother had both legs amputated because of diabetes. It’s not a pretty disease, and it’s completely preventable for me.
I don’t feel “on my game” when I’m not eating right. I experience a roller coaster of blood sugar ups and downs when I eat too much or eat too many sweets or simple carbs. I’ve been feeling down lately, and I know that could be a symptom of my not eating right. The problem gets exacerbated because I crave sweets and simple carbs when I’m down, and then I don’t feel good because of the blood sugar issue. I got motivated again last night. I bought a cart full of fruits and veggies and planned out my six mini-meals for today. So far, so good. I haven’t been hungry, I feel energized, and I’ve enjoyed what I’ve eaten. I’m on meal three right now.
I was talking to a gal pal last night, and we were talking about our age as it relates to health. I have an old college friend whose wife has Alzheimer’s. Another friend has Parkinson’s. Every time I hear another story like that about my peers, it reminds me that I’m at the age where my health can’t be a “back seat” issue anymore. I don’t have kids, and I’m single. I HAVE to take care of myself. Mine is a one income household. If I don’t work, there is no money. Sure, I have insurance and savings, but I may need that later. So, I won’t give up. It may take a few more false starts to get going again, but I’m going to keep trying as long as I have breath on this earth. It helps me to write about it which is why I’m boring you to death with this rambling. But, maybe you’ll get motivated, too. Life is too short. I don’t want to make it shorter.
Below is a sample of what I am eating today….
Meal #1 (6 AM):1 c oatmeal 2 T dried raisins 2 T half and half Chai with 1/2 cup skim milk and 1 t honey 3 oz. plain nonfat greek yogurt 4 drops Stevia Meal #2 (9 AM): 1 1/2 c chopped fresh pineapple Boiled egg 5 bell pepper rings 5 garlic stuffed olives Meal #3 (Noon): 1/2 c cooked white beans 1/3 c cooked brown rice 1 c steamed broccoli 1 oz red fat swiss cheese 1 apple cooked with cinnamon Chai tea with 1/2 c skim milk and 1 t honey Meal #4 (3 PM): 1 large sliced roma tomato 5 garlic stuffed olives 1/2 c cooked white beans 1/3 c cooked brown rice Meal #5 (6 PM): 1 c cooked non-starchy veggies 1 slice Ezekiel Bread 1 T Peanut Butter (no sugar added) 3/4 c chopped fresh pineapple Meal #6 (9 PM): 1 oz goat cheese 1 Ezekiel brand tortilla 1/2 c pinto beans 1 c non-starchy veggies sauteed in olive oil